SES: the Future of Online Sports Media Comes to Chicago


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Marketers and search engine optimization professionals attend SES Chicago each year to network and learn about topics such as PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, usability and more.

When the conference takes place October 18-22nd it will offer 70+ sessions, intensive training workshops, and an expo floor packed with companies that can help you grow your business. Programmed by the SES advisory board, you can be assured – SES content really is king!

I had an exclusive email discussion with Simon Heseltine, the Principal Marketing Manager for the News & Information division at AOL Inc, working on sites such as FanHouse.com Aolnews.com and PoliticsDaily.com from their Dulles, VA location.

By Paul M. Banks

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Simon has spoken at many conferences around the world and is an advanced Toastmaster (ATM-S, ALB). He has a Masters degree in Information Technology from Virginia Tech and is a BA graduate of the University of Humberside (UK). Sports-wise he’s a Philadelphia Flyers & Hull City AFC (soccer) fan. Simon will be presenting…

…Digital Marketing & Sports
Sports is a multi-billion-dollar global industry; from Olympic hockey in Canada to the soccer World Cup final in South Africa, from Formula 1 racing in Monaco to the NFL in Chicago. There’s so much that happens in the wide world of sports that keeping track of it and identifying the areas to focus digital marketing dollars on can be a huge challenge. How do individual teams and players connect with their fans? How do they use their social networks to generate engagement and revenue, while at the same time reducing the focus on any areas of negativity? How do sports sites work with leagues, teams and players? What online marketing opportunities are out there in the sports vertical right now, and how can they be applied to your company and/ or vertical? Join this panel of sports digital marketing experts as they walk you through the answers to these questions and more.

PMB: Tell us what the attendees should expect from SES Chicago overall, and specifically your panel, which will feature you and Casey Rovinelli, Director of digital marketing for the NHLPA

SH: The first SES I attended was in Chicago in 2005, back when it was held in December rather than the more temperature friendly October this year. As an attendee I found it to be an extremely educational and insightful conference, with coverage on all aspects of internet marketing for small, medium and large organizations. It wasn’t until Chicago 2006 that I started talking to the speakers at the networking events, and I found that to be almost as useful as the sessions themselves. Where else can you have a chat with a Google engineer, a Bing product manager, and a group of in-house SEO’s that are experiencing the same things that you are?

This is the second time that this panel has made it to the agenda for the show, the first being at the recent San Francisco show, where it was well received. Both Casey and I were on the panel there, and covered sports in the digital world from the perspective of both a company that covers it and, from Casey’s perspective, an organization that represents athletes, and their interests.

In Chicago I’ll be talking about some of the initiatives that AOL has been putting forward in order to move the needle on our online market share, highlighting some of the successes that we’ve had across a variety of sports, from the US staples through to up & coming / niche sports.

PMB: You’ve worked on both the business and IT sides in your career. How much do the two areas blend together these days? Or is there still more of a proverbial “firewall” between the two departments. What’s been the key to generating such positive increases in SEO referrals? What SEO and Search Marketing best practices do you recommend?

SH: It’s true, in my past life I was a developer, although I also had the marketing background, so the transition wasn’t too jarring for me. Being someone who has that experience has, I believe, helped me to bridge the gap between the marketing side of the house and the development side. I have more of an idea of what can be done, how long it will take, and the devs that I work with respect that.

In the past I’ve worked with companies where there was almost a battle line between development and business, and the best way to get around that is to educate everyone in the company, from the executives down. Once everyone understands what SEO can deliver to their site, it’s so much easier to properly prioritize tasks. With that education piece people can understand the opportunities that they’re missing out on if they decide to go in a different direction, and they understand the challenges around SEO & search marketing in general.

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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